Day 17 – The Backyard Parables & Book Giveaway

“I hope that people will think about the garden’s harvest as more than ripe tomatoes and cutting flowers…To me the ‘other’ part of the harvest… The garden’s life lessons, its parables—about control (or lack of it), about letting go, about the cycles and the giant web of interconnected life—are the really juicy stuff.

Be sure to pluck some of that goodness, too!”

~ Margaret Roach

Today’s post in the 31 Days of Living Homegrown is a about connecting to our garden and we have a special guest.

Margaret Roach is visiting here as one of the stops on the Blog Tour for her new book, The Backyard Parables - Lessons on gardening, and life. The book just came out a few days ago and I was lucky enough to get a copy in advance for this “tour” and I will be giving away a copy (Not mine! I’m keeping mine!).

The day Margaret’s new book arrived, I started a fire in the fireplace, pulled my favorite chair over and started reading. I read for hours (a luxury I rarely have) and I enjoyed picking up the book several more times over the course of the weekend until I finished the last delicious page. 

Why I am a Gushing Fan:

You first need to know that Margaret is one of my all time favorite writers…garden or otherwise. I have been a gushing fan (I swear I am not a stalker!) of her blog, A Way to Garden almost since the beginning. Today, that blog is considered one of the all time best garden blogs…EVER. And it is. There, and in her books, Margaret writes about gardening with both your head and heart or in her words, “horticultural how-to and ‘woo-woo’.” And as if THAT  isn’t enough, her garden photographs are gorgeous.

Margaret is one of those writers who has this incredible ability to transport you to her garden through words.

I have never set foot in her Hudson Valley, New York garden and yet, I feel as if I have strolled through her little circular garden near the door and meandered (clockwise, as she intended) around the house. And I have enjoyed (along with her other readers) the colors, scents and sounds (Cue the frogs) of every season she has experienced there since her blog began in 2008.

But her writing goes beyond the beautiful, descriptive prose.

She teaches.

Margaret’s garden writing teaches about life, patience, perseverance, of letting go and more.

When counseling us on how to really see our gardens, she tell us that we,  ”must learn to see with your heart; the eyes won’t do in the hardest months.”

Like many people, I first learned of Margaret when she was the garden editor at Martha Stewart Living Magazine and later, the editorial director of the parent company. But I most fell in love with the work she did “in retirement” in her garden because she shared all her trials, successes, heartaches and most importantly, her lessons along the way. Her first book, A Way to Garden became the gateway to her website writing and her last book, And I Shall Have Some Peace There, shared her journey from the corporate to the natural world.

Both books tell the story of how the garden saved her.

The Backyard Parables

The Backyard Parables is the latest work of her continued journey and in it, she shares more lessons learned. But as always, she weaves solid garden information and advice throughout.

I especially loved the section on Seed Shopping Rules because her advice is so spot on! Here is a video on the Seed Shopping Rules if you want to have a look:

The basic premise of the “Rules” is this:

As we thumb through seed catalogs to pick next year’s crop, we need to accept that we just can’t have it all! To get a reality grip on all our “wants”, Margaret wisely advises that first we consider our abilities in conjunction with our “needs”. She gently recommends that we should really grow “what is scarce or precious”. She then gives a systematic set of rules for how to do that. But of course, she (like most of us) always throws in a few extra seeds that just “don’t meet the requirements at all, since no one is looking.” Ha!

There are also a few tips within the book for preserving the harvest and Margaret includes a recipe for Refrigerator Pickles – which to this day remains the most popular post on her website. You gotta love someone who will share a treasured pickle recipe!

Influences…

When you read someone like Margaret Roach, you can’t help but wonder…Who (or what books) most influenced her craft? When I asked Margaret this question during our interview, she said that the books that most got her going were from three different veins:

“Some were about about self-sufficiency (most of all “Living the Good Life,” by Helen and Scott Nearing, which first came out the year I was born, but I read in my mid-20s). From that ethic come my love of growing and putting up food, which I have done for decades.

Some influential voices delivered practical gardening how-to, but in a kindly, never-condescending manner. Prime example here: James Underwood Crockett’s “Crockett’s Victory Garden,” published 1977—which is when I was also reading “Living the Good Life” for the first time, I should note.  I still use it today.

And some were opinionated and even odd, often funny. Best example here: “Green Thoughts” by Eleanor Perenyi (first published in 1981). She just told it to you her way. I loved her voice, and her wide-ranging interests in so many topics.

So I think if we fuse those traits—part-Nearing hippie, part Crockett practical/helpful, part Perenyi quirky/funny/curious about many things, I think you get me. (Or at least I hope you do.) I only wish I were one-one-hundredth as influential as any of them!”

Ummm…Margaret?  I think you influence more than you realize.

What Margaret Hopes You “Get” From The Book:

“Most of all, what I hope is this: that people will think about the garden’s harvest as more than ripe tomatoes and cutting flowers—that they will think of gardening as more than outdoor decorating.

To me the “other” part of the harvest I get every time I step outside is the sweetest part—even when it’s dealt in the form of disappointment, or loss. The garden’s life lessons, its parables—about control (or lack of it), about letting go, about the cycles and the giant web of interconnected life—are the really juicy stuff. Be sure to pluck some of that goodness, too!”

That we will, Margaret. That we will. Thank you for taking the time to share with us here and for the use of your lovely photographs.

The Giveaway:

The giveaway is officially closed as of midnight, January 22. But I am not closing the comments in case anyone else just wants to share or comment in the future. Congratulations to Ashley R. I know you will enjoy the book!

Thanks for all the incredible comments! It was so fun to read what everyone has learned from their garden!

To win a free copy of the book, The Backyard Parables, you need only leave one comment below sharing a little tidbit of what your garden has taught you. One word answers are fine! If you are stumped or shy, then simply comment saying “I’m still learning” and I will count that.

The giveaway closes at Midnight (PST) on January 22, 2013. At that time, I will randomly choose a winner and send out the book. Sorry, but the winner must reside within the United States.

Good Luck!

This post is part of the 31 Days of Living Homegrown. Sign up for my newsletter (weekly or monthly) so you don’t miss any of the inspiration and resources I will be sharing for living local, fresh and homegrown!

Disclaimer: In order to do this book review, I received an advanced copy of this book with no expectations on what I would or would not write. All opinions stated here are my own.

 

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About the Author

Theresa Loe is the Co-Executive TV Producer and the On-Air Canning/Homesteading Expert for the national PBS gardening TV series, Growing A Greener World. She is a lifetime canner and a graduate of the Master Food Preserver Program. She studied both sustainable horticulture and professional culinary arts and she is a wrangler of chickens and two teenage children. (Not necessarily in that order.)

{ 124 comments… add one }

  • Robin January 17, 2013 at 9:41 am

    My garden has taught me to be humble. While I will dig in and try to do it all myself, there are times I’m reminded that asking for help and receiving that help graciously in no ways makes me weak or incapable. It makes me human & a part of our greater humanity.

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  • Lynn Hunt January 17, 2013 at 9:43 am

    My garden has taught me to never give up. A polyantha rose called The Fairy was accidently bulldozed when we tore down our cottage in Maryland. My late Mother-in-law had given it to me so I was particularly upset about the loss. The next spring I saw a familiar 7-leaf leaflet emerging from the ground. The Fairy was back!

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  • Jeanne January 17, 2013 at 9:44 am

    As a nutritiionist, my front yard edible garden and backyard chickens have taught me that this is our most affordable healthcare plan! We all ought to grow some of our food and medicinal herbs so we can take responsibility for our own health care. Besides, its such a pleasurable way to build wellness!!

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  • Terra January 17, 2013 at 9:57 am

    My garden is a sanctuary for every living thing that enters it, especially for birds, a skunk family, possums and ME. I have a cement statue of Mary to remind me to pray, which my garden prompts me to do.

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  • Geri Miller January 17, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I always find myself thinking of what my garden teaches me as every season draws to a close but especially as I near the end of each year and the beginning of a new one…A lesson of balance, peace, acceptance, calm and…love.
    I send my best wishes to all for a very happy new year and an equally happy garden.

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  • Sally Schwitters January 17, 2013 at 10:20 am

    My garden teaches me to slow down.

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  • Tammy January 17, 2013 at 10:33 am

    My garden has taught me that no matter how carefully I plan things out, things will happen to mess up those plans. Most of the time, that “thing” has four legs and a digging fetish.

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  • Candace January 17, 2013 at 10:36 am

    The garden I have now has taught me that I can garden anywhere. After my lifetime of plenty of land, sunny spots, room for gardening supplies (compost bins, etc.), I recently moved to a townhome with a limited space on the cack porch, a small deck off the second floor bedroom and a tiny front porch. I’ve learned new things about tracking sunlight through the seasons, shade gardening, and the power of container gardening a plethora of vegetables.

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  • Susy January 17, 2013 at 11:13 am

    My garden has taught me to slow down, to enjoy every single minute. Every morning I try to walk in the garden, enjoying the sounds, the fragrance, and the plants, I can pick what needs to be harvested, or just observe; it all depends on my mood. It takes a long time create a garden, to be comfortable within it, it takes time and the garden has taught me to have the patience to wait and just to enjoy each day as it comes!

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  • Christina Salwitz January 17, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Having transitioned from my giant landscape at my last home to what I now refer to as my Barbie house landscape, I can say now that having a garden that I can fully manage on my own is a huge step up. Adjustments large and small are so much more meaningful in a small space.
    Each year I’m focusing on a particular idea, adding trees, more veggie space, more containers, refining the hardscaping etc. It’s more personalized every year as well. ;-)

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  • Taylor January 17, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Accept Change :)

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  • Susan Petty January 17, 2013 at 11:55 am

    IN my garden I have learned to watch and listen to the tides of time and seasons, to the constant, yet minute changes that take place day to day.

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  • Jennifer Essad January 17, 2013 at 11:57 am

    After time working in my garden I realize I am more relaxed, I don’t think of it as a chore anymore like I did when I was told “it’s time to pull weeds” and my mom planned a day of it! I wait for the perfect weather and spend a day of it, often finding it’s getting dark and I NEED to stop. I know that I will always need a special area for a garden wherever I live!

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  • Ishbel January 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    The garden seems to bring everyone together. Every person that visits my home from the cable guy to children and adults of all ages, political views, and life experiences enjoys a garden tour and sharing stories.

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  • sharon daniels January 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    My garden has taught me healthier eating and appreciation.

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  • K. Scruggs January 17, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    My garden is a plot of land by the house that has been in my family’s care for over one-hundred years. It is not only dirt, and grass, and tomatoes and corn….it is a thread that has wound its way through the days and months and years of many lives. It is a constant in an ever-changing world. It is the piece of earth that has nurtured generations of my family, and will hopefully do so long after I am no longer the one who tends it. :)

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  • Barry Norman January 17, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    My garden has taught me patience and how to find a solution to any problems I come across. Gardening is also a time to talk to my inner self, and find a different perspective on my life. It helps me stay in shape both mentally and physically, it’s my lifes’ therepy.It also provides me good organic veggies to eat fresh or to can/freeze. I love my garden!

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  • Billie Yates January 17, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    My garden has repeatedly taught me that I still have alot to learn!

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  • Jeffrey January 17, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    My garden has taught me that a grass lawn is a waste of perfectly good gardening space.

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  • Tiffany Tracey January 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    This will be my first year digging into the dirt, creating my own garden. Although, I’ve been looking through seed catalogs for 2 years. This will be my first opportunity to actually grow one.

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  • Kris January 17, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    My garden has taught me to wait, and thus far relax.

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  • Cynthia Novak January 17, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    patience

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  • Renee January 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    My garden has kept me sane through some very tough times. Everything I do in there is a surprise. I am at my absolute happiest there. Especially when I am rearranging how I will do things based on seeds and plants I have bought. When I am done for the day, I love to sit back and take it all in. It has taught me….there is always a new day :)

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  • Reba Brabandt January 17, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    I learn something new everyday seems like. I walk out my door and immediately I start relaxing. I walk around the yard and talk to the pretty flowers or anything that will listen to me.

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  • Sandra Beck January 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Peace of being at one with the earth.Beauty of seeing what it can teach us.The magic of
    nature at one with the universe and man when we work in harmony. Blessings beyond
    belief…Thanks for the chance …

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  • Judy January 17, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    My garden has taught me patience.

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  • Jennie Brooks January 17, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    gardening has taught me so many things. the thrill of planting a seed and watching the plant reach maturity – i feel like a child learning something for the first time, every time. i have always been a nature lover even before i had a yard but spending more time outdoors has somehow deepened my faith in God. maybe it’s knowing He provides me with all these little daily miracles. gardening brings me peace.

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  • Cindy January 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    my garden has had me live the parable of the sower, birds and rabbits eating not only the seed but the produce, rocky soil, weeds, and good soil
    From each aspect i have learn
    generosity and sharing with others
    the removal of stones from my life
    knowing when to separate the good from the bad
    and a harvest of plenty

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  • Robin E. January 17, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    My garden teaches me that I can still learn new things.

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  • Mike LeFevre January 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    The greatest lesson that I have learned in my garden is that all creation wants to live. Seeds sprout in the most barren spots, the plant will grow, reproduce and die with the least care. Birds and insects thrive in the heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter. A garden is the repository of potential and vibrancy.

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  • donna helmes January 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    My garden has taught me how to fight cancer one flower at a time. I was introduced to gardening after my diagnosis. My friends filled my deck with container after container of beautiful flowers, herbs and vegetables. I found peace and solace in that tiny space. A sanctuary during a scary and difficult time. I loved caring for my garden and I became really interested in growing organic produce. Tending to my garden taught me about the value of connecting more with nature and most importantly-the importance of taking the time to destress and enjoy a moment to stop and smell the flowers.

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  • Elena January 17, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I still have and use my Crocket’s Victory Garden too! . He was in the right place for what I needed in 1977.

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  • Pam January 17, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Patience

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  • Joan weed January 17, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    To Hope.

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  • susan January 17, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    after 30+ years, i am still learning.
    my gardens teach me deliciousness, healthfulness, happiness.
    they teach me dirty knees, oh my achin’ back, too much water, not enough water, perseverance and sharing.
    they teach me that there is no other way…

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  • Debbie January 17, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    My garden has taught me many things… the most precious to me are the gifts of patience and hope. In the mornings when I visit my garden I may bear witness to a tiny leaf unfold like an umbrella or a beautiful flower that will eventually give way to a fruit. Patience is learning to enjoy each of these moments instead of looking for the harvest.

    I’ve learned that in life things are born and inevitably die. Seeing a perennial come back to life in spring gives me hope… just like the plant I was able to nurture back to life.

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  • Christa January 17, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    My garden has taught me and is still teaching me the magic and amazement of our world. How wonderful, rewarding and at the same time disappointing it can be. To be awe struck at the beauty of how a flower or tomato grows and intrigued at how one day can make such a difference on the outcome. To me, working in my garden along side my chickens is my new found peace and joy!

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  • stacey l January 17, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Clean food for my children to eat.

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  • Jessica Anne January 17, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    My garden has taught me patience. Not everything grows as quickly or as well as I would like. Sometimes my children or the chickens get things before they’re ready. I’ve learned there’s always next season.

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  • Steve Asbell January 17, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    The garden has taught me that when you give to the world, it gives back.

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  • Leslie January 17, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    4 years ago when I started our home’s gardens – I could not foresee the beauty it would give us… It has taught me RESPECT. Humbling amounts of work and sweat it took to make changes that had been done un complainingly by my dear mother and aunties over decades at their own homes, appreciation of the knowledge my generous garden mentors continue to share with me and happily discovering the beauty of nature and wildlife that now can abide and coexist on our property. The squirrels were always here… Birds, Bees and Butterflies have found us!

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  • Michelle January 17, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Compost happens.

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  • ann January 18, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Our mother taught us to love growing and watching the process. I find a garden wherever I can and has taught me that nothing is forever

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  • Mary Gilbert January 18, 2013 at 3:32 am

    My garden has taught me simplicity and reality; 2012 was quite a very very bad year! It seems that everything I’ve believed about me and my faith, my lifestyle, my wants and desires has been dashed and shattered. Tried to fill it with…stuff…complex, expensive, useless stuff. Gardening, something I’d always done up until last year was the one place where what is…actually IS. Hands in the dirt, watching a seed grow and create beauty or food…or both, is a breath of reality and simplicity. After this horrible year, I find myself craving the simplicty and reality that IS gardening. Bring on 2013…beginning with garden planning.

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  • Monica January 18, 2013 at 4:13 am

    Gardening is both simple and complicated. I am constantly learning!

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  • Sandi Crabtree January 18, 2013 at 4:24 am

    “Work with her or against her, either way Nature will have her way”. Her Way at Crabtree Gardens is the name of my blog. I’ve learned that a five acre parcel of land can’t be controlled by a gardener, nature is usually the boss.

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  • Stephanie January 18, 2013 at 4:41 am

    I’m still learning! Our garden is becoming a great place for our family to work together and enjoy each other!

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  • Trisha January 18, 2013 at 4:44 am

    Amend the soil!

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  • Betty Adams January 18, 2013 at 4:55 am

    How a lot of hard work pays off. Amazing how one tiny little seed turns into something so wonderful — A 12 foot tall sunflower, a 100 # pumpkin, hundreds of cherry type tomatoes on one bush, ect, ect, ect.

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  • Carmen January 18, 2013 at 5:03 am

    You reap what you sow.

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  • Carmen January 18, 2013 at 5:40 am

    Patience! And, in some cases a little neglect is a good thing!

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  • Brad Gay January 18, 2013 at 6:02 am

    I grew up in south Florida so I didnt grow up with a garden. When I moved to Iowa in 2007 and started gardening in 2008 I found a new passion. Above all lessons gardening has taught me to be patient plant seeds and the harvest will come. This has been a life lesson as well as a spiritual lesson for me.

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  • Jackie Isler January 18, 2013 at 6:06 am

    Of course, I’m still learning. But one thing I have found is to just be still – look, listen, smell, and enjoy……

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  • Chad January 18, 2013 at 6:08 am

    Patients and working with the flow of nature, not against it.

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  • Kathy Bopp January 18, 2013 at 6:09 am

    My garden has taught me that it’s a never-ending cycle. If something doesn’t work, replace it with something else and don’t feel guilty about it. It was also my inspiration for keeping backyard chickens…I can’t imagine my homestead without them!

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  • Cathy @MotherofaHubbard January 18, 2013 at 6:12 am

    Everything is interconnected… the soil, plants, insects, microorganisms, animals… this is what my garden has taught me. When I focus on cultivating those interconnections, my garden is healthy and flourishes. And it works for people, too. I love the people that I have come to know through my gardens; they have helped me grow and serve as a constant source of nourishment for my mind and soul.

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  • Leslie January 18, 2013 at 6:17 am

    My garden has taught me patience. It is a lesson I have learned over and over and I have learned to enjoy the anticipation instead of being annoyed by the wait.

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  • Bonnie Cranmer January 18, 2013 at 6:17 am

    Where do I begin… my garden has been my savior, my teacher, my friend! I learned early on, tending strawberries and rhubard with my grandmother that everything is NOT edible. Once I was old enough to have my own garden(s) I learned some things are not meant for inside, or outside, or water, or neglect, and that I must experience my garden in harmony, without force or expectation or demand. And most important of all, I learned patience along with the pleasures of the garden which are more glorious when shared ;-)

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  • Amber Stacey January 18, 2013 at 6:52 am

    I am still learning and will never be done learning. but i have learned hard work pays.off and to never give up of it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it.too. i love my garden it brings my family together we all love working in the garden.

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  • allen hori January 18, 2013 at 6:54 am

    patience. always patience.

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  • Jen January 18, 2013 at 6:56 am

    My garden has taught me SO much. Most of all to appreciate how much time, energy and water goes into the food we eat and to not waste it. I’ve also learned to be humble. Just when you think you have it all under control, aphids attack the broccoli!

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  • sarah January 18, 2013 at 6:58 am

    My garden, even though it is only a few pots outside my apartment door, has taught me to care. To care about my neighbors by sharing, about the neighborhood kids by teaching and about myself. To care about myself to eat a little healthier and to be a little more active. Thanks for the chance and for your blog, I learn a lot from you.

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  • Sandy January 18, 2013 at 7:07 am

    My gardening has taught me that even the worst of conditions can produce a happy.

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  • C. Hennes January 18, 2013 at 7:09 am

    I was a gardener in the past, I am a gardener now, and I will be one as long as I am physically able. It’s what I am and what I do. I am so happy whenever I find out there are more like me out there and look forward to reading Ms. Roach’s book.

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  • Gerry January 18, 2013 at 7:15 am

    HOPING to win this book so I can snuggle under my afagan and do some reading while my Michigan winter does what it needs to. Forecasting high in the teens next week.

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  • Shannon January 18, 2013 at 7:18 am

    My vegetable garden is teaching me that “flower” gardening is easy…. So much to learn and you get one chance every year, where as my landscaping plants come back every year and you have a longer time to work with a plant. If a plant doesn’t flower the first year, no worries, you have next year. If my tomato isn’t happy the first year, well, that is that! No tomatoes for me! That was the most surprising thing that I learned. Food plants are hard, bigger learning curve than I realized.

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  • Judi Conway January 18, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Patience, beauty & joy. Also, oneness with all as I telepathically told the deer & woodchucks that this was my garden … they left it alone until I was done with it for the season!

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  • Kathy January 18, 2013 at 7:35 am

    It’s hard to pin down my backyard education to one lesson but I guess the biggest one has been what to grow in my very shady (30+ TALL oak trees on 1 acre), zone 6 garden space. Of course Hosta but Camellias actually like it there and believe it or not Knock Out roses are happy too! Hydrangeas and several pretty ground covers and Helleboras make their home under my big oaks.

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  • Tracy Gillespie January 18, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Patience!!! :)

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  • Jessica January 18, 2013 at 7:43 am

    My garden has taught me how to let go of control and flow with the seasons. You can plan all you want, but you can’t control the weather! Everything is going fine and then bam, heavy rains and split melons.

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  • Stephanie January 18, 2013 at 7:54 am

    My garden has enriched my life and opened a door to enlightenment for me and my family. It let me reinvent myself, coaxed me to go back to school to study horticulture at our local extension program, and gave me a way to teach my children here in one of the largest cities in the world how to honor nature. My garden taught me that home is all around us, not within the walls we sleep in.

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  • Jim Wade January 18, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Learning patience and perseverance , always learning , this book appeals to the gardening traits , thanks

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  • Peggy Stenglein January 18, 2013 at 8:01 am

    My garden has taught me not to fight with nature, but to go with it and respect it, and take in and relish what it has to offer. I’ve had years in the garden where I’ve been to slow to tackle weeds and then to be overcome by them, years where my ‘focus’ crop has not done well. My Mom always told me that I needed to listen and if a plant is happy in a certain spot, it will let me know by giving my a gorgeous show of color or a wonderful crop! She taught me that I might have to move things around to make the plant happy, and to not give up so easily. This translates into everyday life out of the garden too, which has been a wonderful lesson to me. Gardening of any kind is a refuge for me, my stress free zone. My happy zone. I lose time there, and don’t mind at all. : )

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  • Ashley January 18, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Still learning. But it has also taught me to take joy in the little things, my favorite is watching my kids watch their seed turn to plants and then to food.

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  • Jenn January 18, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Gardens show you, up close & personal, the miracle of life… something we should never take for granted! It’s a beautiful, emotional journey to watch plants grow & thrive.

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  • Linda K Ross January 18, 2013 at 8:06 am

    vigilance

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  • Christine January 18, 2013 at 8:07 am

    I’ve learned to be organized, patient, and go with the flow. As i age, gardening is my escape to peace and harmony and sharing with family and friends.

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  • Candy the Gardener January 18, 2013 at 8:14 am

    To be patient, as I have zero control over the weather, and germination of the seeds I have so carefully chosen to be a part of my organic gardens – it has become my mantra – “be patient and see what comes forth”

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  • Laura Bell January 18, 2013 at 8:34 am

    My garden has taught me to think creatively. When the front yard iris bed was over-run with tree roots I realized if I left them there, I’d have to wrestle with those darn roots every few years. And the battle would only get tougher. So I pulled all of the rhizomes & planted compact blueberries which will not need the near-constant attention of irises. Added bonuses : a unique “hedge” that also produces amazing fruit, and inspiring the neighbors who never thought about planting food to re-think their own landscapes. And when the trees of the nearest neighbors overwhelmed my veggie patch, robbing it of sufficient sunlight, I found varieties that needed less & started growing some that I’d never considered before.

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  • Jenine January 18, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Every time I plant, I learn something new. Usually something specific to the dirt my hands are in and what helps this particular seedling thrive. Mostly I’ve learned to enjoy the sun on my skin, the warm dirt on my hands. I’ve learned the joy of completing a task. I’ve learned how proud I feel when I can produce food for my family and how quickly you can make friends when you hand over a bunch of baby beets or a few perfect tomatoes to a neighbor.

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  • Jenn January 18, 2013 at 8:35 am

    My garden has always taught me to keep wondering. I plant the seeds, but they decide what will become of themselves. If the water reaches them, if the sun shines its rays upon them, will they? Will they? When I actually do find something growing and flourishing, I’m so grateful!

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  • Ann Carranza January 18, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I came to wholehearted gardening later in life. Though there have always been gardens in my life, thanks to my mother, grandfather and husband, my participation was passive rather than active. Now the drive to participate envelopes me and wonder why I took a back seat for so long.

    To garden is to live life and death…patience and reward…growing and recovery. Roach writes, “and the giant web of interconnected life….” We ARE connected to all garden creatures and to the life-force itself. Interconnections became my favorite garden “woo-woo” the first day I petted the dragonflies while looking deeply into their eyes. Dragonflies are garden magic.

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  • Yvonne January 18, 2013 at 8:51 am

    My garden has taught me the value of “wild flowers” that are often considered “weeds” by the unappreciative.

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  • Mary January 18, 2013 at 9:02 am

    My garden has taught me how dirt can touch ones soul and how healing just a few minutes a day it can be.

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  • pao January 18, 2013 at 9:03 am

    My garden has taught me patience: I can’t force anything but have to relax and wait, enjoying every moment. My garden has also taught me to share and understand the balance all around me: my first veggie garden was eaten every night by a hungry raccoon, until I figured I should grow its favorite crop in the farthest corner of the garden. Since then, the raccoon would only eat ‘its’ veggie garden and left alone ‘my’ veggie garden. That raccoon was crazy about baby spinach :)

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  • Happy Dodson January 18, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Patience — and that I will alwys be learning.

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  • christine January 18, 2013 at 9:40 am

    learning in my garden is never-ending!

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  • Gerry January 18, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Here is hoping I would get this book ;-) Thinking lots of spring thought in mid January

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  • Jenny L. January 18, 2013 at 11:12 am

    My garden teaches me that there is always a new lesson to learn. Gardening is a true glimpse into the cycle of life.

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  • Michele January 18, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Things my garden has taught me…neighbors consider milkweed a weed, not Monarch food and nurseries…strawberries get eaten first by t he birds and other critters, have to figure out how to protect them…blackberries grow back if you nip them to the nub in the fall….lettuce sown imperfectly still comes up – everywhere it landed….don’t expect to garden while you’re pregnant…understand that starting a garden while you are pregnant doesn’t mean anyone else will harvest it either….whole foods have more life in them….bringing your soil up to a new level of healthy is important!

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  • Samantha Olden January 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    My garden has taught me patience, humility and that while I need healthy food to nourish my body, I need gardening to nourish my spirit :)

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  • Steven January 18, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    My clay pot herb tower taught me that the herb plant which appeared the smallest grew the most.

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  • Ashley Lowry January 18, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    My garden has definitely taught me patience and perseverance.

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  • Kristy A. January 18, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    My garden has taught me compromise. My husband likes to measure and plant in straight rows, I’m more of a free spirit and don’t see the need to measure so much. We compromise each year and bring out the string for straight rows then I throw in the seeds. I’ve learned that through compromise we can grow beautiful things together.

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  • CindyP January 19, 2013 at 4:29 am

    My garden has taught me how much things want to grow, sometimes despite everything we try to do to stop them. Plastic mulch laid down on bare ground, covered with paving rocks-a year later, moss, violets, purslane- all sprouting between the rocks. A large boulder placed near the garden, the next spring daffodil greens pushing their way out from under the rock, growing crookedly, but still growing, shouting to me, Hey, I’m hear, move the rock darn it! Sometimes I think the best thing to do would be to just get out of nature’s way and let her do what comes naturally.

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  • Marla Gatz January 19, 2013 at 6:04 am

    Stress Relief :)

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  • Sosh January 19, 2013 at 6:11 am

    I’m still learning.

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  • JoAnn Clark January 19, 2013 at 6:29 am

    My own small nature preserve in the city.
    My refuge ~ a place for my soul to refresh and renew.

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  • Doug Gunderman January 19, 2013 at 7:32 am

    My garden has taught me to relax and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. I only wish I had more time to spend in the garden.

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  • Beverly Ciszkowski January 19, 2013 at 7:59 am

    No matter How I botch it up. It still comes up with forgiveness and maybe brought me a new friend to nurture.

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  • JoAnn Clark January 19, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Thank you for submitting my name in your drawing for the new book
    The Backyard Parables. I look forward to reading and sharing garden ‘thoughts’.

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  • Rosemeri January 19, 2013 at 9:18 am

    My garden teaches me that nothing stays the same. Everything changes and I need to change too. Every day there are new things happening in the garden and I enjoy the subtle differences and the not so subtle, like a new crop of cabbage worms that I need to deal with asap. The garden mimics life at all levels. I need to go with the flow.

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  • Amy B January 19, 2013 at 10:32 am

    My garden continually teaches me to appreciate life’s simple beauties, and that patience is part of appreciating. Thanks for posting about Margaret’s book.

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  • Randy S. January 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I live and learn through gardening, as every year is different. I also plan and plant new edibles ‘to- me’ for learning about. Dealing with drought had never been an issue until this past gardening season, but now I find an interest in drought tolearant varieites. Soil building is like building blocks with one step at a time, as the impatient will not succeed.

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  • Elizabeth Brunner January 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    My year-round garden has taught me to appreciate the seasons. Every month is worth celebrating. Thanks for the giveaway contest.

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  • Ellen January 19, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    our garden has taught me the beginning of a whole new way to look at how my family eats and how we can be good stewards of the earth

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  • Carol January 20, 2013 at 8:39 am

    My garden teaches me to relax, be adventurous, and accept change.
    It brings back great memories of spending time with my late dad in his huge garden!

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  • Lizzie January 20, 2013 at 10:17 am

    My garden has taught me a far far greater appreciation for the natural cycles of the Earth, and the changing seasons. Each brings different tasks and chores, as well as different beauties and wonders.

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  • Heather January 20, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    my garden teaches me to let go.

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  • nha January 20, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    My husband taught me the beauty of being a partner, my son how to be a better parent, my daughter how to be a better human being, my friends the importance of solid friendships, and my garden, most importantly, taught me the power of quiet and reflection. I am forever humbled my these teachers.

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  • Pam January 20, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Gardening fulfills my “own voice” which is impossible to describe….. something that grows from way down in the depths of my soul when I am “out in the fields with God”.

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  • Carole January 20, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    My garden has taught me that I can’t always be perfect!

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  • Maggie Patterson January 20, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    My garden has taught me that I cannot always have my way, but that I can still feel good about that reality. Nothing brings gives me happiness and tranquility the way my garden does; it is truly my own therapeutic beat.

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  • Donna C. January 21, 2013 at 3:17 am

    I learned that one is never too old to start over. New Beginnings at any age are good for the soul.

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  • David January 21, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    What a fantastic opportunity to get this printed book. I prefer paper to eBooks for the most part. What gardening has taught me is to appreciate the small things, enjoy the sites and sounds of nature, provides relaxation, and constant care yields more crops. Sorry I could not sum it all up in so simply. I do not use chemicals so it can be a challenge and may not produce a lush harvest but what is harvested is even more so appreciated on the dinner table.

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  • terri gildea January 22, 2013 at 6:21 am

    All that comes from the garden is a gift, a lesson of worth and value; the bountiful harvest, the tangled web of weeds, the constancy of garden pests, the joyful songs of birds seeking seed pods, the colorful kaleidoscope of fragrance & beauty, the ravenous worms working their way through the soil,….a magical kingdom born of a handful of seed, of our own creation. Lifes metaphor before our eyes, a cycle of rewards & disappointments, of simple true values; an affirmation of possibility!

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  • Vickie Westcamp January 22, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Actually, I am still learning! I know that I can grow some really, really good peppers. Tomatoes….. not so much. I also learned that if you kneel in the dirt with shorts on, your knees will look dirty even with a good scrubbing! I also learned that we had a beautiful songbird who frequented redwood trees last year. He sang to me in the early morning and I certainly hope he comes back this next year.

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  • Jess January 22, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Patience.

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  • Patricia January 24, 2013 at 9:49 am

    The subtle joy of playing in the dirt, the wonders of each season. Shear pleasure of being surrounded by nature. The excitement of seeing new and favorite plants growing. My childrens enjoyment of fresh veggies they pick and their amazment how good it tastes and they grew it themselves. Enhances mind, body and spirit. Making wonderfull healing remedies

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  • theotherlibrarian January 24, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    My garden has taught me that you can plant too many green beans. But never too many flowers.

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  • Michele February 6, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Hey, who won? Congratulations! : )

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  • sarah February 7, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Congrats Ashley!

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